7 villages With Water Filters, 2 Water Supply projects and a Cultural Centre

With just weeks to go before my return, I think I can say that this season has been the most successful in our 9 year history.  With more projects in a season than ever before, more water filters than ever before and so many great friends who visited with us to make a difference in this impoverished part of the world.

After the last 3 weeks of village visits, and reporting back to each water filter donor, I can now catch up a little.

Our Vancouver team from the Rotary Clubs of Ladner, Coquitlam Sunrise and the Coquitlam Noon Club, a past exchange student from Belgium from our own Whitby Sunrise Club, along with other friends joined us for a whirlwind tour.  We started with a distribution of water filters to the rural village of Nakhaeng.  Some of us walked to the ferry and some went with Siphans truck to cross the Mekong River.  From there is was a 1 1/2 hour journey by oversized Tuk Tuk…well it actually took a little longer than that, because our Tuk Tuk broke down, so we had to wait for tractors to come and pick us up!  It didn’t seem to lower the spirits of our group though.  It turned out be a pretty busy day!


We did a hygiene course and distribute 66 water filters, for 65 families and the school.

Everybody was getting pretty hungry but we managed to squeeze a session to provide all the students with school supplies and a can of fish, along with rattan balls and a net, and a frisbee! From left to right is Mike (ok, his belly), Preet, Kathy, Andrea, Diana, Sandra, Beau and Dawn….sorry Mike.

This was followed by a typical baci ceremony (spiritual offering) and the singing chant was abbreviated so everyone could eat.  We had been delayed quite a bit by the truck so had to high tail it of there in order to get back to Luang Prabang for our Valentine’s dinner.

I knew we would be late so headed straight there from the boat, while people took showers, and the staff was kind enough to hold off the cultural entertainment for us….so kind.

Our team!

We headed north to Ban Xiengda the following day, where the large water project was being completed.  After checking into our guest house, it was time for some sweat equity!

It is amazing to see the entire Khmu side of the village involved in the water tank construction.

Here are Preet (Coquitlam Sunrise Rotary), Sandra Okeeffe (Ladner Rotary) and Vincent Schippers (past Rotary exchanged student from the Whitby Sunrise Club.

Ok, so we may have slowed things down a bit with the cement mixing and so forth, but we were good entertainment for the village…

We headed to the school for the celebration, baci and presentation, but wanted to have some fun with the students first…Can you guess what song? Head and Shoulders…

The teachers. Kevin was the teacher – we just assisted as you can tell.

Lots of speeches. Note that this school is not one of ours.

Everyone was presented with a small gift as a thanks for the support.

…and certificates of appreciation

We had done a lot already during this short trip but there was lots more to come.

Our team headed up to the village Huey Kheun to teach the villagers how to install solar street lights.  Siphan never ceases to amaze me with his aptitude and nothing more than a knife, a tree trunk and a couple of other pieces of wood….oh, and a few nails.

These solar street lights were donated by a very generous Singapore Group.  Each family was also given a solar light for their home (the smaller units shown in the bottom centre of the picture.

In about 20 minutes, the pole was prepared and installed with the light! Special thanks to Steve at the Alton Hotel in Singapore who has made a positive difference for this village.

Some of the team headed further to Katang Xieng, as they wanted to see the new school we finished last year (with one of the rooms being sponsored by Global Change For Children).  The rest of us headed back to Nong Khiaw because Siphans truck couldn’t hold all of us and a minivan would never have been able to make it, with the bad roads.

On the way back to Luang Prabang, we had one more stop to make.  Ban Nong Kham…for another distribution of filters.

56 families received these and of course, they wouldn’t let us go without another Baci ceremony and celebration!

As you can see, we accomplished a lot in just 5 days!  What an amazing accomplishment!  They all headed to Cambodia for some well deserved R&R.  Can you blame them?  Meanwhile I had just a couple of hours to prepare for our next group of guests!


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